Words for a terrorist attack are always jolting, whether it comes through a phone call in the middle of the night, tomorrow's news is wasted from the alarm clock or an email that breaks into an ordinary day at the office.
When the news of such an invisible event breaks, I begin media queries almost immediately. They all ask the same question: What does that mean?
Unfortunately, I have been practiced by dealing with atrocities like the scary shootings in New Zealand.
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There is a list of questions I always ask myself to make sense to the meaningless.
Despite the temptation to rush to judgment, my rule is to wait for facts and let facts speak for themselves. In this case, the facts came out very quickly, partly because the perpetrators sent them to the world. The shootings in the Christchurch mosques are the very definition of terrorism: the intentional will to make violence on innocent to serve a political agenda.
Who is to blame?
In the case of terrorism, my answer is always the same: the terrorists. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was right when she said that people with such extreme views "have absolutely no place in New Zealand and do not actually have any place in the world … … We totally reject and condemn you." to others is just wrong. Terrorists should be made to own their evil.
What about whataboutism ?
There are always some who want to make a tragedy about their agenda. This agenda can be gun control, politics, religion or any number of other concerns, hatred, conspiracies or just causes. But trying to question their cause and not about terrorism does nothing to promote our understanding of either ̵
Take questions at your own profit. We do not need a terrorist attack to argue that an extremist ideology that dehumanizes people from another religion or embraces xenophobia is wrong. We can argue that every day.
What about the terrorist threat?
All terrorism is horrible, but it's not all equal. Terrorist groups organized and supported by global networks or governed by state sponsors such as Iran represent systemic threats to national security and society's peace and prosperity. Individual acts of terror, even horrific acts of terror such as these mosque attacks, are extreme public security challenges. Each should be handled with the resources and appropriate to the nature of the threat.
It is also worth remembering that if we add all terrorists in the world, including terrorists like those in New Zealand, they are only a minuscule faction of any race, religion or any other group of humanity.
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What about people? ]
Terrorist acts can quite rightly be interpreted to understand who we are – the good and the bad. In their wake, we see leadership, as Prime Minister Ardern's compassionate, steady and stable hand. We see our ability to care and empathy, just like the many people all over the world, who stand together with the New Zealand people this morning, pray for them, their loss, and their future. And we see the providers, the hate mongers and the manipulators.
What does the horror in New Zealand mean? You have my answer to these questions. What is yours?
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